Nov 26, 2019

Poet Brian Patten and Alan Moore

Detective Comics Vol.1 n.341
Excerpt from Koom Kankesan's interview. Published here.  
Alan Moore: [...] I was fourteen that Penguin books released their edition of the Mersey poets, The Liverpool Scene. This contained a poem by BRIAN PATTEN called "Where Are You Now, Batman?" It took the comic book heroes (or perhaps more accurately, the movie-serial heroes) of Patten’s youth and recast them in an atmosphere that was more psychologically modern, making them unusually poignant in the process. I recall a line about Blackhawk committing suicide in “the hangars of lost innocence.” I think at the time I attempted slavishly to turn out a similar poem – a line about Rocket Man’s fuel tanks having given out high over London – before realising that to mimic the poem would be accomplishing less than nothing, and that the thing to do was to isolate the central effect that I had found so powerful, which was simply the situating of fondly-remembered children’s characters in a modern world that was no longer appropriate to them.
Obviously, a decade or so later I found a way to put this principle to work in a great deal of my early superhero material. [...]
Excerpt from Patten's site (here, check below the "Previous Poems of the Month" column and entry "Where Are You Now Batman?")
Patten: [...] Where Are You Now, Batman? was written around 1965 when I was still in my teens. Recently I read somewhere that the poem’s dysfunctional superheroes proved an early inspiration for Alan Moore. That delighted me, as I think he’s a fantastic unpin-down-able creator of contemporary fairytales. What are Superheroes after all other than the likes of Hansel & Gretel dressed in masks and colourful costumes and fuelled by overloads of adrenalin.

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